Article

Ezgi Ada
Ezgi Ada 9 July 2018

Trends Shaping the Customer Engagement in 2018

Tectonic shifts are transforming the global business landscape dramatically. To succeed, companies have to accept never ending volatility as the new normal, understand the ongoing developments and create business strategies for the future.

As unpredictability seems to be here to stay, it’s high time to go deeper into what the first half of 2018 has brought so far: omnichannel marketing, personalization and geofencing. Although these are not new concepts to the marketing world, they recently have come into the spotlight and become popular. Hence, understanding these trends and forces shaping business environment will enable companies to create an effective marketing strategy and deliver results.

1. Omni Channel Marketing

First of all, before going into deeper about omnichannel, let’s define what is omnichannel really is. Omni channel literally means all channels. It’s about providing a seamless, unified and consistent shopping experience to customers across all sales channels. Omni channel marketing destroys walls between online and offline touchpoints, and builds the whole system around the customer.

Why omni channel strategy is a must?

Because, the waves of digital technologies come brand new challenges. Companies not only have to catch these waves but also ride them. Customers, on the other hand, are already technology-driven and using multitude of devices. As alternative options are now one click away and at their fingertips, customer purchase journey no longer looks like traditional linear model but has evolved into a dynamic and complex one. And this new model consists of various touch points - online, offline, mobile and social channels. Customers, going back and forth between online and offline shopping channels, want to start their shopping journey at one channel and finish at the other. And they want this whole journey to be a complete integrated shopping experience.

In addition to this, researches show that mobile turns out to be central to omnichannel marketing. In 2017, mobile e-commerce sales reached to 1.7 billion dollars worldwide. In 2021, it is expected to increase 3.56 billion dollars by 2021, and make up almost 73 %  of total e-commerce sales.

Therefore, it’s crucial to create a robust mobile experience that will serve as a unifying force bringing all other channels together.

2. Personalization 

Personalization is another defining theme nowadays. While their journey can take multiple different turns, customers are always in control and ask for a right combination of relevance and personal touch along the way.

How can companies give customers what they want?  

  • They have to know their customers, what they want or don’t want, how, when, where they shop.

  • They have to successfully use that data to provide personalization at scale. Segmenting and targeting can turn customer data into powerful insights and enable brands to offer specific products or services to a specific group of customers. Such tailor made offers will enable to cater relevant segments.

  • They have to use the right tools to engage with their customers. Within the store, mobile app or website, they can use push notifications as natural extensions to make personalized offers and suggestions to their customers.

The right segmentation and targeting along with a touch of personalization will make all the difference. Hence, make your efforts count and bring in more lucrative results with the right marketing strategy.

3. Geofencing 

Personalization can be leveraged when combined with geofencing. Because personalized experiences are valuable only when they are relevant and timely. Otherwise, they can be felt intrusive.

How geofencing works? 

  • First, you need to ask your customer for location permission on the right time or place to make them sure that sharing location data will bring advantages. So, the question is how/when to ask for location permission. For example, when a user presses on “the closest store” button, it’s probably a good time to ask for her/his permission. Or if she/he presses campaigns section within the app, then you show an alert saying “if you want to know about campaigns near you, allow us to access to your location”.
     
  • Then you have to define a location. You can target more than one locations with a single mobile campaign.
     
  • When a mobile phone user enters and exists targeted location, she/he receives a personalized push notifications.  

Why geofencing matters?  

  • Consumers are attached to their phones, carrying them everywhere they go. They keep their mobile phones in direct reach. They use it for information gathering, entertainment, socializing and such. And they hate it when they are interrupted with irrelevant push notifications. And companies do not have 2 or 3 shots to test their passion. With one mistake, their app can end up with being uninstall. Geofencing, on the other hand, can strengthen customer engagement. Real-time location data enables companies to communicate with their customers much more effectively. Push notifications tailored to location will be the most effective, because they will give relevant and real-time offers that will be of interest to customers.

Then can geofencing drive conversions for brands?  

  • Researches show that FOMO - or the fear of missing out -  is a catalyst, motivating customers to make purchase decisions. That being said, geofencing, making it possible to give customers something they can only have at that time and at that place, can trigger a desired response with call to action or interactive notifications.

  • One impressive example is the Whole Foods case. The Whole Foods, acquired by Amazon last year, preferred an unusual approach, targeting potential customers by placing geofences near the stores of their competitors. And conversion rates proved their point. They achieved 4.69% post-click conversion rate – more than three times the national average of 1.43%.

Conclusion 

All in all, as business environment is undergoing transformative shifts, it’s crucial to capture today’s trends to handle the complexities and challenges of the future. It’s an never-ending approach to marketing strategy. You can start catching up with omnichannel, personalisation and geofencing.

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